Excited students at a Manchester school were on hand to greet a big yellow new arrival this morning, as they became the first to benefit from an exciting community transport project.
Following their successful application earlier this year, Piper Hill School took delivery of their very own decommissioned yellow school bus - the first of six to be delivered after Transport for Greater Manchester invited people to submit plans to transform the buses for community use.
The Wythenshawe-based school, which offers specialist provision for pupils with severe learning difficulties from 11 - 19 years old, plans to transform the bus into a student space. Once renovated, it will be used to support students with science, technology, business and enterprise opportunities and arts and crafts.
The remaining five buses will be delivered to the other successful applicants over the next few weeks.
- Northmoor Primary School (Oldham) – They plan to use the bus to provide family support in area of high deprivation. The support services on offer will include a food and toiletries bank, a washing machine to clean uniforms, a workshop for parents to learn core skills (job seeking etc.) and a small library.
- Higher Lane School (Bury) – Their bus will be transformed into a school nurture and counselling space, with a trained counsellor present. It will also provide a lunch time arts club for vulnerable pupils as well as one to one reading lessons.
- Cravenwood Primary School (Manchester) – They also plan to use the bus to provide family support in area of high deprivation. The support services on offer will include healthy eating workshops, core skills (language, financial, emotional health) workshops, behavioural support, domestic violence awareness and mental wellbeing workshops. The bus will also act as a free breakfast club, a book swap club and a sensory space for children with special or behavioural needs. Children will also be encouraged to use the bus as a place to hold and run their own meetings (student council etc.)
- Red Lane Primary School (Bolton) – Once renovated, their bus will provide a ‘well-being bus' for pupils and families and be used to hold friendship groups, anger management groups, Lego therapy and personal, social and health education. It will also offer parenting support programmes and help raise awareness of key issues such as child sexual exploitation. The bus will also provide a quiet space for calm and relaxation and will house two senior staff trained as mental health first aiders.
- Audenshaw Primary School (Tameside) – Their bus will provide a student council-led relaxation and mindfulness space, with specialist counselling sessions, crafts and workshops on resilience and team building all available. The bus will also double as a sensory space for children with special educational needs.
Councillor Mark Aldred of the Greater Manchester Transport Committee said: “This is a wonderful initiative that generated lots of fantastically creative and community-spirited entries and I know it was an incredibly difficult task to pick six successful entries.
“The decommissioned buses look set to benefit and support a wide range of people – from families facing financial and social challenges to young children looking to develop important skills as they ready themselves for adulthood.
“Our yellow school buses are a great service that allow children to get to school safely and securely but, even when their life as a school service comes to an end, we’ve now found that they can still be incredibly useful to communities.
“I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to apply and I look forward to seeing the winning entries developing and helping people in the near future.”
Louise Lynn, The Head of Piper Hill School, said: “Piper Hill pupils’ and staff are really excited to have this opportunity. Plans are already afoot to undertake the development of the space into a creative and unique environment that will ensure we are able to offer innovative experiences for our pupils.”
Schools, community groups and volunteer organisations were invited to bid for the buses this summer. The scheme proved extremely popular, generating 201 online submissions that were assessed on several criteria, including originality, creativity and benefit to the community.
The process followed the successful donation of a previously decommissioned yellow school bus to Greswell Primary School in Denton last year. Using lottery funding, the school transformed the bus into an outdoor library that is used by both students and the wider community. The bus was donated after two pupils, 11-year-old Mia Goodison and 11-year-old Louie Williams-Manby, wrote to TfGM asking for the bus on the basis that it would encourage more children to read.
Yellow School Buses are a service provided by TfGM for secondary school children in Greater Manchester. They are easy to spot, alerting road users that children will be getting on and off and offer a guaranteed seat and a regular driver.
Pick-up and drop off points for children are usually close to home and always in a safe place, offering additional peace of mind.
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